Nothing's Sacred; Huskies batter Pioneers

The well-oiled Washington basketball machine needed a minor tuneup in the opening minutes of its game Wednesday night against Sacred Heart, but for the final 37 minutes it ran about as smoothly as it could against a Pioneers team with only one win on the season. Washington overcame some early shooting woes and ran away with one of its most lopsided wins in school history, 114-53, in front of a packed house at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.

Washington improved to 9-1, notching its fifth win in a row on a night when they showed a knack for getting inside the paint for easy points. They outscored the Pioneers in that category, 70-20.

Forward Jamaal Williams led the efforts with his best game as a Husky, using his bulk, height and Mark Aguirre game to bully Sacred Heart (1-7) inside on a regular basis. The Pioneers had no answer, lacking a single physical player, and Williams finished 11-for-12 from the field with a game-high 22 points.

Williams checked out with 8:41 remaining in the contest to his biggest applause from the Husky faithful.

"It's good for him to have a game like this going into Houston, because they will not be a walk in the park," said Husky coach Lorenzo Romar. "We will need every part of everything we've got to win that game."

Williams was one of eight Huskies in double-digit scoring, joining Joel Smith (15), Bobby Jones (14), Tre Simmons (13), Nate Robinson (13), Mike Jensen (12), Will Conroy (11) and Brandon Burmeister (10).

Smith, a smooth left-handed shooter, made 6-of-7 field goal attempts, his only miss coming on a second half layin-gone-awry.

Every Husky player scored except for Hans Gasser and Matt Fletcher. Each missed on their only shot attempt. Fletcher had a chance to get on the board in the final seconds, with the Huskies holding to a 61-point lead and the crowd chanting "Fletcher - Fletcher - Fletcher." But when the pass went into the forward from Kansas with three seconds left, he shook his head to signify "no" and elected to let the buzzer sound.

Washington led 72-40 six minutes into the second half, already an ugly score, before going on a second big run - this one 21-0 - to make it 93-40 with eight minutes remaining.

That ability to tack on, even in garbage time, enthused Romar.

"For us, there were some things that we wanted to get accomplished and that was to play the right way for 40 minutes and not be thrilled with success if we were to have success tonight, and I thought our guys did a marvelous job of doing that," said the Husky coach. "We got up, and instead of being content we continued to play, continued to work and tried to wear them down. We forced 30 turnovers and had 30 assists. I was proud of our guys' effort tonight."

Washington led 55-31 at halftime, even after missing its first seven shots and being held scoreless for the first 2:24 of the game. Down at one point 7-1, the Huskies answered with a 26-0 run to break it wide open at 27-7.

Utilizing Williams, Jensen and Jones down low, the Huskies battered the Pioneers in the paint. Smith, meanwhile, was the go-to guy from the perimeter, connected on all five shot attempts in the first half for 12 points. Williams had 14 and Jensen added 10 before intermission, as the Huskies outscored the visitors from Vermont, 40-8, over the course of the first 20 minutes.

The Pioneers were forced into 34 turnovers to the Huskies' 10 for the game, and were outrebounded 44-30. Defense was a point of emphasis for Washington entering the game.

"We focused more on relying on our defense," said Smith, who had seven steals. "We tried to focus on that more than just scoring."

Jones led the Huskies on the glass with a career-high 14 rebounds, while Conroy had a game-high 13 assists.

Game Notes:
Up Next: Washington hosts Houston on Friday, Christmas Eve, at 1 p.m. It will be the third-straight season the Huskies have faced the Cougars.

Roy, Why?: Husky forward Brandon Roy didn't suit up for the game, taking the non-conference cupcake off to allow his meniscus to further heal. On Sunday, Roy keyed Washington to its 68-64 win over North Carolina State.

"It was determined before the game that unless he was needed we were going to give him a little bit of rest," said Romar. "He played 18 minutes against NC State, probably three or four more than he should have, and we wanted to make sure that we rest this as much as we can rest it. He will definitely play against Houston. We didn't want to risk anything tonight so we sat him out."

Mading Mading: The name of the year award, at least in the early going, has to go to Sacred Heart forward Mading Mading, a native of Khartoum, Sudan. He still has some ground to make up on Rainy Crisp, however, a guard on Arizona State's girls team from a few years back, as far as top names go overall.

Husky Stats:
Points: Williams 22, Smith 15, Jones 14, Simmons 13, 
Robinson 13, Jensen 12, Conroy 11, Burmeister 10, 
Potter 2, Johnson 2

Rebounds: Jones 14, Conroy 6, Gasser 6, Williams 6, 
Jensen 4, Robinson 3, Burmeister 2, Johnson 1

Assists: Conroy 13, Smith 5, Robinson 3, Jones 2, 
Gasser 2, Jensen 1, Simmons 1, Burmeister 1, Fletcher 
1, Johnson 1

Blocks: Jensen 1, Burmeister 1, Williams 1

Steals: Smith 7, Williams 4, Jones 3, Simmons 2, 
Robinson 2, Burmeister 2, Jensen 1 Top Stories